Canadian Underwriter

New Brunswick minister issues order restricting forestry operations to help mitigate fire risks

August 3, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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New Brunswick’s Energy and Resource Development Minister, Rick Doucet, has issued a ministerial order effective noon on Thursday that orders restrictions on forestry operations throughout the province.

The order, under the Forest Fires Act, is one step to “reduce risks due to the current and forecasted fire hazard,” the provincial Department of Energy and Resource Development said in a press release on Thursday.

“The fire hazard in our province is at the highest level that we have observed in more than 20 years,” Doucet said in the release.

The restrictions in the order include no harvesting, forwarding, site preparation or pre-commercial thinning between the hours of 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. for all operations with two or more people or operations using mechanical equipment. The province is also currently closed to all burning, including firepits and backyard fireplaces.

“I am pleased that a number of forestry companies voluntarily adopted these measures earlier this week,” Doucet said in the release. “While these restrictions are for forestry operations on Crown and private lands, including private woodlot owners, this is also a good reminder to anyone in New Brunswick’s forests, recreational users and others, to take precautions and curtail their activities to help mitigate the risk of forest fires.”

Aerial detection aircraft continue to fly over New Brunswick searching for wildfires, the ministry reported. Department of Energy and Resource Development ground crews will work with municipal and volunteer fire departments, as well as forest industry workers. Water bombers are also ready to assist in responding to forest fires, the release said.

According to the department, a total of 98 wildfires have burned almost 124 hectares of forest land so far this year. To this date last year, 241 wildfires had consumed more than 224 hectares. The 10-year average to this date is 197 wildfires, with 273.4 hectares burned.